Maryvale volleyball team raises money for breast cancer awareness, research

A volleyball team at Maryvale Preparatory School, in Lutherville, has aced this year’s goal for its annual breast cancer fundraiser.

Varsity and junior varsity volleyball players at the all-girls Catholic school have raised more than $2,000 this fall by selling pink socks to members of the school community to raise money for the Virginia-based Side-Out Foundation.

Side-Out—which is a volleyball term describing when a team wins a volley and gets the serve—owns, operates and manages its own Stage 4 breast cancer research program, according to marketing director Josh Bryant. The foundation has raised $12 million through the volleyball community at annual events called Dig Pink rallies, Bryant said.

Each fall, the organization encourages participating volleyball teams to raise money by hosting Dig Pink events planned by the middle schools, high schools and colleges nationwide that take part in the event, according to the foundation website.

“The girls really get a big kick out of doing this every year,” said Maryvale Prep coach Missy Little, who first started a Dig Pink rally at the school three years ago. “They get to wear pink— and what girl doesn’t like to wear pink? But they can get involved as part of a bigger fundraiser.”

The school raised $1,525 in 2015 through online fundraising but just $100 in 2016, according to Side-Out. The drop was due to being in between coaches, Little said. This year, as coach of both the varsity and junior varsity teams, Little set out to top the previous year’s totals by having players from both teams participate.

The team came up with the idea to sell pink socks, which school officials allowed students to wear throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October, as an exception to the normally uniform-appropriate white crew socks, Little said.

In conjunction with the fundraising, the Maryvale volleyball team also held a Dig Pink rally at an Oct. 4 game.

The varsity and junior varsity teams both played with a pink ball and wore pink jerseys. Prior to the game, the teams recognized breast cancer survivors by handing out pink roses.

“It seems like you talk to anybody and there’s a connection somewhere with some woman, whether it’s a friend or a family member, that’s struggling with breast cancer,” Little said. “It’s sad. We feel like this is one thing we can do to show our support and find a cure.”

The girls are also collecting funds through their website at

Varsity team captain Erin Shaffrey, 17, a senior at Maryvale, said she considers this year’s fundraising a “monumental success.”

“I think it’s been such a success that I’d like to see it cemented in Maryvale’s future,” Erin said. “I foresee it becoming a huge part of the Maryvale way.”

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